Break free of your teaching constraints 

Filling the pail

It must be terribly constraining to use explicit instruction, right? You can’t just throw in innovative activities or cool problems because you have to follow principles such as the gradual release of control. Barak Rosenshine clearly articulates these constraints in this article.

Instead, we might wish for more freedom.

Do other teaching methods afford this freedom? Problem based learning, project based learning, inquiry learning, the maker movement and other constructivist approaches seem promising.

But perhaps we should be careful what we wish for.

Firstly, constructivist methods constrain the use of ‘telling’ – which is the pejorative term that is often deployed to mean ‘explaining things’. Either we don’t ‘tell’, we limit ‘telling’ or we give it a role afterproblem solving.

And there are also constraints on content.

If you want your lessons to be effective then you probably need to limit constructivist instruction to areas where students have…

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